Pic of the Day: The Madonna-centric Italian poster for Vision Quest (1985)

Vision Quest italian poster

Set in Spokane, Washington, Vision Quest (1985) stars Matthew Modine as a high school wrestler who embarks on a quixotic mission to drop multiple weight classes in order to take on his region’s top grappler.

Madonna makes a brief appearance in the film as a singer at a club crooning “Crazy for You.” That cameo was enough for Italian post artist extraordinaire Enzo Sciotti to re-imagine the movie as a Madonna vehicle in which Modine also does a bit of wrestling – in a ring.

Pic of the Day: On the set of The Professional (1994)

natalie-portman-behind-the-scenes-of-luc-bessons-the-professional

An Arriflex 35 BL4 sits perched behind Natalie Portman (making her film debut) on the set of Luc Besson’s The Professional (1994).

As a little added bonus, here’s Gary Oldman discussing one of his many unhinged line readings from the movie, via a Playboy interview:

“What’s funny is that the line (where I scream “Everyone!”) was a joke and now it’s become iconic. I just did it one take to make the director, Luc Besson, laugh. The previous takes, I’d just gone, “Bring me everyone,” in a regular voice. But then I cued the sound guy to slip off his headphones, and I shouted as loud as I could. That’s the one they kept in the movie. When people approach me on the street, that’s the line they most often say. It’s either that or something from True Romance.”

Cinematographer Dan Laustsen talks The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water frame grabs

Check out my interview with The Shape of Water cinematographer Dan Laustsen (Nightwatch, Crimson Peak, John Wick: Chapter 2, The Brotherhood of the Wolf) for Filmmaker Magazine.

Laustsen’s third collaboration with director Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water tells the story of a mute cleaning woman (Sally Hawkins) who falls in love with the amphibious creature (Doug Jones) housed at the government research lab where she works.

Shot on Arri Alexa XTs with Master Prime lenses on a surprisingly skimpy budget of $19.5 million.

Here’s a snippet from the interview:

Dan Laustsen interview quote The Shape of Water

Shot Behind the Shot: The Princess Bride (1987)

(Above) The Man in Black reveals his ambidextrous swordsmanship in 1987’s The Princess Bride. (Pic on the left via Behind the Clapperboard)

Here’s Mandy Patinkin on preparing for the scene, from an Entertainment Weekly oral history:

I knew that my job was to become the world’s greatest swordfighter. I trained for about two months in New York and then we went to London and Cary and I trained every day that we weren’t shooting for four months. There were no stunt men involved in any of the sword fights, except for one flip in the air.

A few more nuggets from that same oral history….

ROB REINER, director: I read the book when I was in my 20s, because I was a huge William Goldman fan. Then, after I had made a couple of pictures, Spinal Tap and The Sure Thing, I started thinking of The Princess Bride. I very naively thought I could make a movie, then I discovered that Francois Truffaut had tried and Norman Jewison had tried and Robert Redford had been involved — one after the other. No [studio] wanted to make a movie of The Princess Bride; nobody was interested in it. We kept tearing the budget down, I had to try to sell foreign rights and video rights, I had to cut my salary, I had to cut the cast’s salaries. It was crazy. I think we had, like, $16 million dollars, which even at the time wasn’t very much. In the script it said “the army of Florin” — I had seven people in the army of Florin.

WILLIAM GOLDMAN, writer of The Princess Bride novel (published in 1973) and screenplay: I had two little daughters, I think they were 7 and 4 at the time, and I said, “I’ll write you a story. What do you want it to be about?” One of them said “a princess” and the other one said “a bride.” I said, “That’ll be the title.”